Buying without an agent

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It seems like most of the deals I read about are from direct marketing, and are purchased without an agent. I'm ready and willing to start marketing (have my letter written and everything), but how do the logistics of the sale come together? Does a title company put together that massive packet of documents? Is it the lender? How can I get more info about everything that happens after the seller and I agree upon a price (should I be so fortunate) and an inspector checks the place out for me? 

Are most of the people sharing these deal stories about buying outside of the MLS (with or without a wholesaler) also agents themselves?

Also, yesterday an agent said that he wouldn't recommend us (even me *with* an agent!) pursuing FSBOs because those aren't protected by the same disclosure requirements, so I might end up with an undisclosed problem. Does this seem like a realistic concern to heed?


You write up your offer and the seller excepts or negotiates. Once you have a signed written offer, you go to the title company to start doing the paperwork. You can also do any inspections if that was in your contract. Your bank (if you are using one) will do their under writing process once you or the title company start that process. 

You dont have to be an agent to buy a home. But it helps to have done a few deals for personal property so you at least know the process. You may want to talk to a title company before getting a signed contract so you have one that is willing and knowledgeable about working on off market deals.

You can end up with undisclosed problems either way. And you can ask the seller to fill out a disclosure form if you want. 

You don't need to have a license to buy a FSBO but you should be very familiar with the purchase and sales agreement (you can get a CAR form from an agent in CA or draft your own agreement which should be looked over by your real estate attorney first if you are new).

As far as that advice from the agent, it is not entirely true. With agency involved, there are certainly more required disclosures but CA has its own disclosure laws regarding real estate and FSBO or not, sellers must disclose any known defects, adverse affects to title, adverse affects to the value (such as death on property), etc. Failure to do so would constitute legal action against them in most cases by the purchaser no matter if agents were involved or not.

Thanks so much, Will and Leah! I really appreciate the help. It sounds like I was making it a bit more complicated than I needed to. I've been through a few personal house purchases, so I have that experience (and the standard CAR form) to draw on for the purchase and sales agreement, working with the mortgage broker, and inspections. And then it sounds like the title company and bank would put together that 500-page set of papers I signed at closing. I'd consult a lawyer as well.

I had some technical difficulties when posting and accidentally ended up posting this twice, so for anyone reading this with the same question, you may also want to read the answers here

Thanks again!